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Energy monitoring systems: The secret to measuring your business electricity usage

With energy prices steadily rising over the past decade it has never been more important for businesses to be aware of their electrical usage. This trend has seen the deployment of Energy Monitoring Systems become of paramount importance to companies large and small to reduce wastage and cut costs significantly.

energy1. What is Energy Management?

Energy management covers anything related to conserving and reducing energy usage, whether this is through upgraded equipment, greater levels of insulation or adding some form of decentralised energy production on-site. The overall aim being to reduce your energy bills and manage the impact your business has on the environment.
The objective for businesses is to monitor their energy use closely and implement a plan to resource conservation. This plan should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure objectives are being met. Overtime with the right analysis, a comprehensive profile is built on your business’s energy habits.

2. The Importance of Metering

There is a great saying in productivity circles that goes “what gets measured, gets achieved”. This is certainly true of energy management efforts where the first step is enacting a detailed measurement of your usage. This allows you to track your progress as you enact various solutions. In addition to this you can often estimate using a percentage scale exactly what kind of savings you will obtain from each energy saving measure.

3. How will Metering Impact Your Business?

Energy management is vitally important in today’s climate conscious world. Businesses can capitalise on the popularity of caring for the planet by implementing green initiatives, and promoting the information. Choosing a business because it cares about the environment is a common practice among consumers.

According to the Nielsen Global Survey, two-thirds of the mainstream population will choose products from sustainable sources over conventional projects. Additionally, the study concluded that consumers are more likely to become a repeat customer if they know the company is concerned about the environment, and acts accordingly.

4. What Type of Energy Monitoring Systems are Available?

1. Using the Right Tools: The Australian Energy Regulator has released an Energy Made Easy tool, which allows businesses to compare energy offers in the area, as well as understand and compare electricity usage. This comprehensive resource allows businesses to compare your company’s electricity usage against others, research renewable energy sources in your area, and gives tips on saving energy.

2. Solar & Wind Analysis: There are many companies who offer solar and wind analysis for businesses of all sizes. Learn how much it would cost to convert your energy resources from standard electric to solar and wind, and how long it would take to see a return on your investment.

3. Energy Waste Analysis: Hire a team of experts to analyse your business for energy waste. Are employees wasting energy and resources? Are all systems operating at optimum capacity?

4. Carbon Emissions Analysis: Submitting press releases and other PR tools to showcase your company’s carbon emission analysis, and plans to reduce it, for public consumption would be a smashing hit.

5. Cloud Software: Energy management analysis can be obtained by a web-based smart hub that’s connected throughout your buildings. This provides businesses with an on-demand automation platform to enable full control over electrical and lighting systems.

6. Energy Mass Balance Analysis: This is the practice of learning to balance the energy and materials flow within the businesses. By doing this, you gain a better understanding of energy and material flow and a comprehensive indication where vital energy is being lost. This analysis provides businesses with opportunities to improve efficiency in certain areas.

7. Benchmarking Analysis: When energy performance indicators are used, it’s revealed whether or not your business unit is operating at its optimum performance level. By using a benchmark analysis, the actual energy being used can be compared with a theoretical (calculated) energy use. From this, you can draw comparisons from other sites or processes to see how your usage measures up and where changes need to be made.

Studies have shown that those who are able to receive immediate feedback on their electricity usage save 5%-15% on their overall power bills. Right now, your relationship with your power bill is probably to rip open the envelope and frown at the cost and due date. If you really want to take it a step further, perhaps you compare it to the last few months and try to work out why it’s so expensive. For most businesses those, that’s where the analysis stops. You pay the bill, and eventually you just move on. Just think how different this could be with an energy monitoring system in place that works for you and your organisation!

energy15. The Bottom Line: Success

Businesses that plan green initiatives alongside a marketing initiative to build awareness and demonstrate responsibility will realise the most gains. According to the Energy Efficiency Exchange (EEX), there are a variety of funding options available to businesses. Funding options include operational expenditure, capital expenditure, business improvement funds, corporate funding, government funds, and alternative funding options such as energy performance contracts. Research grants and loans for funding may also be available.

Businesses who take the time to plan, execute, and implement systems to reduce electricity usage are guaranteed to move ahead of competitors who are behind on environmentally friendly initiatives. They are also rewarded with a ‘greener’ environment around them and substantial savings.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, electricity is one of the main energy sources used by industries. The growth of Australia’s economy has led to a growth in energy usage, and Australia’s total greenhouse emissions. When businesses use this type of statistics and facts to stand behind their decision to reduce their electricity usage, consumers will take notice.

6. Execute an Electricity Measurement Plan

The comprehensive measurement of electricity usage within your business can be an overwhelming process, but various agencies and companies exist to provide assistance with this task. Budget departments will be appeased by the potential for savings in rising energy costs. Marketing departments will quickly jump on board with PR and image campaigns. Most importantly, consumers will take notice, and reward your business with their patronage.

About the author:

This article is written by Jayde Ferguson, who writes for Blue Star Energy – Perth and Southwest WA’s newest electricity supplier offering tailored electricity tariffs to businesses. You can catch her on Google+.

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